Sunday, October 25, 2009

PPH or People Magazine?

Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram runs a health care-pegged profile of Sen. Collins today that reads more like a canonization brief than a piece of legitimate journalism.

The article, full of glowing praise from Collins fans, includes not a single skeptical-sounding clause about the junior senator; no critics are heard from; and all context about the, um, evolution of Collins' position on health care is omitted.

The piece also privileges biographical detail over legislative substance, the implicit message being that Collins is first and foremost a celebrity--and only incidentally a legislator.

Of course, this kind of friendly, uncritical approach is what we've come to expect from PPH, whose former editor is now a Collins staffer.

When the new ownership arrived, an early editorial hinted that a more healthy, less cozy relationship between the paper and the senator might develop. But since then, Richard Connor has raised the white flag and returned to the fawning approach adopted by his predecessor.

It's not just a shame--it's a betrayal of the paper's readership. Or what's left of it.

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